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Here is a new guest post by Laura Alary that looks at some of the best books about bullying for children.
Great ‘thinking’ books can help you and your children discuss and understand important topics like bullying. One of the finest benefits of frugal living is getting more of what is most important to you. Children and great books can be a wonderful recipe for enjoyment (and empowerment). With Pink Shirt Day coming up later this month, teachers might also want to take a look at these wonderful books as useful classroom resources as well.
Books: My Favourite Luxury
As a frugal mom, I am always looking for ways to do more with less. But like most people, I have my priorities—the things that really matter to me—and I am not prepared to skimp on them. One of these priorities is surrounding my children with good books. Even here, frugal principles are at work. We make the most of our library system, and I haunt used bookstores and thrift shops. But I also buy a lot of new books. As a writer, I know how much it means when people invest in me and my work. I want to support and encourage other authors. Having a family library is worth the cost for many reasons.
Books—even more than movies—nurture both imagination and empathy. They allow children to live in a different world for a while, to enter into the experience of another. When we read, we are not simply spectators, watching things happen to other people. We become involved. We see through different eyes and feel what would otherwise be outside us and beyond us.
Books are also catalysts for wondering, sometimes raising questions that might not have occurred to children, at other times reflecting back to them their own deepest thoughts.
With Pink Shirt Day coming up soon, it seems like a good time to highlight a few books that stretch the conversation about bullying to include conflict, revenge, forgiveness, reconciliation, and finding the courage to be who you truly are. Heavy themes, yes. But these stories are light-hearted—and often very funny.
Desmond and the Very Mean Word, by Desmond Tutu
Desmond is proud of his new bicycle. When he rides it through the streets of his township—coasting like the wind—he feels free and full of joy. But one afternoon his joy turns to hurt and anger when some boys shout a very mean word at him. His first response is to shout back the worst insult he can imagine. But he quickly realizes that fighting back does not make him feel better. He only spreads more unhappiness.
With the help of the local priest, Father Trevor, Desmond becomes more aware of his own conflicted feelings, sees more clearly what motivates those who are cruel to him, and understands that real freedom comes when he chooses to show compassion—even to people who never say sorry.
This challenging and thoughtful book is based on a true story from the life of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a man of deep wisdom who knows more than most about the power of forgiveness and letting go of anger. It is a great context for the discussion of bullying.
Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain, by Jacqueline Jules
Samuel is the son of the Grand Vizier—the wisest and most important advisor in the royal court of Medieval Muslim Spain. When another boy speaks harshly to Samuel, his father orders, “Make sure Hamza never says a mean word to you again!” Assuming that his father means for him to punish Hamza, or at least silence him, Samuel wonders how to go about it.
Should he train a monkey to pinch Hamza’s lips closed? Should he force-feed him lemon juice until his mouth puckers? Determined to make his father proud of him, Samuel keeps approaching Hamza with various plots in mind. But each time, Hamza misunderstands his gestures as acts of kindness, and the boys end up having fun together.
In the end, friendship turns out to be the very best way of making sure that neither boy ever says a mean word again. And the Grand Vizier is pleased to see that his son is well on the way to learning wisdom. Again, another terrific resource to launch a discussion about bullying.
Victor’s Pink Pyjamas, by Laura Alary
When his favourite pyjamas accidentally go through the wash with some red socks, Victor discovers something surprising: he loves his pink pyjamas! They make him feel happy and silly, and they remind him of many of his favourite things, like strawberry ice cream, winter sunsets, and naked mole rats at the zoo. But not everyone is so delighted with Victor’s pink pyjamas.
His family and friends and classmates all insist that pink is just for girls. Victor wants to know why, but no one can tell him. Victor is faced with a dilemma: should he hide the truth about his love of pink and spare himself a lot of disapproval and ridicule? Or should he wear his pink pyjamas boldly? In spite of the teasing and opposition, Victor chooses to wear his pyjamas.
But with pluck and humour, he also dares to challenge those who laugh at him, urging them to think more deeply about whether pink really is just for girls.
A Role for Caring Adults
Desmond, Samuel, and Victor ultimately prevail because of their own courage, kindness, and honesty. But it helps that they have adults in their lives who listen to their troubles, point them in the right direction, trust them to wrestle with problems like bullying, encourage them to be who they are—and who love them steadily no matter what.
One of the things caring adults do is read to children. You might want to begin with one of these books. It could be the start of an important conversation.
Great ‘thinking’ books are a terrific way to introduce and expand upon ‘big ideas’ with children. These are a small sampling of some ‘great’ books that can help to frame ‘deep thinking’ discussions with young ones.
Here is a link to other great posts about children and parenting.
What do you think? Are there any other good ‘bullying’ books that you feel should be shared? What do you feel about this post? Please leave a comment below.
Please share this post. Thanks. Froogalist.
Author: Laura Alary Google
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